Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Paul Krugman

Bernie Sanders: What the Economists are Fighting About

Economists have gotten into a big fight with each other about the potential economic impacts of Bernie Sanders’ proposals. First Gerald Friedman came out with a new paper anticipating a tremendous improvement in economic performance under Sanders. Then four economists (Krueger, Goolsbee, Romer, and Tyson) affiliated with the Obama and Clinton administrations wrote a joint letter asserting that Friedman’s claims “cannot be supported by the economic evidence”. Paul Krugman subsequently took their side on his popular blog. Others have defended Friedman–Jamie Galbraith accuses the four of not having rigorously reviewed the paper, while Dean Baker claims that the New York Times is not giving Sanders’ side a platform and that there’s far more support among economists than we are being led to believe. In the popular press, this argument has rapidly devolved into a question of which authorities are more or less credible. I want to give you something better–a readable analysis of the actual arguments at stake here.

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Paul Krugman is Wrong about the Democratic Primary

As some of you may know, I am an avid reader of Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman’s blog. He is a stalwart opponent of austerity and has written some brilliant pieces on it. However, I find myself in disagreement with his latest column about the 2016 Democratic Party primary election in the United States, where Krugman argues that because Bernie Sanders’ single payer proposal is unlikely to be passed by congress it is a distraction rather than a meaningful point of distinction between himself and Hillary Clinton.

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Piketty is Right: The Germans Never Repaid Their Debts

I recently read a fantastic exchange between the German newspaper Die Zeit and French economist Thomas Piketty. Here is the original in German–there is an English translation by Gavin Schalliol, but at the time of writing Zeit is disputing Schalliol’s right to publish it. Fortunately, copies of the English translation have shared elsewhere on the web. In the exchange, Piketty makes a point that is seldom made–Germany itself is a direct beneficiary of the debt forgiveness and currency devaluation policies Keynesian economists are recommending for Greece.

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The 3 Ways Governments Raise Money Part III: Printing

This is the conclusion of my three-part series on how governments finance themselves. The aim is to clear up the popular misconception that the state’s budget is similar to that of a corporation or a household, that government borrowing is always necessarily a bad thing. Previously we talked about taxation and borrowing–today is all about printing. Read the rest of this entry »

Candidate Evaluations: Rand Paul

One of the big problems in our election coverage is the tendency for journalists to focus on descriptive questions (who will be president?) rather than normative ones (who should be president?). This is understandable, given journalism’s focus on objectivity, but the result is that we often spend much more time talking about whether a candidate is electable than we do about whether or not the candidate would actually do a good job. Voters need to know which candidates support policies that will help them and those they care about–they don’t need to know which candidates pundits think are likely to prevail. So my response is to continue my Candidate Evaluations series, which considers a candidate’s background, policy history, and explicit statements to determine whether or not the candidate would actually be any good at being president. Previously, I did Ted Cruz. Today, I tackle Rand Paul, who declared his intent to run earlier this week.

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